Okay, so you log onto wrestling websites on a regular basis for your fix of news, gossip, results and opinion. You marvel at the professional artwork and rapidly updated headlines, and click on the latest poll question. Perhaps you join the forums or subscribe to a newsletter, and send feedback to the writers who work so hard to keep you informed.
But how much do you really know about the sordid, often incestuous and almost always cut-throat world of the wrestling website? If you’re shaking your head in befuddlement, allow me to take you behind the curtain.
Before I begin though, let me just make it clear that what I’m about to discuss does not apply to all websites. There are a number of high class wrestling sites around, and I dare say you’re viewing one of them right now. But it’s more than likely that you’ve also frequented those which are somewhat lacking in the integrity department, and you may not even realize it.
For you are The Visitor, and you are the currency in which websites trade. And like any currency, those who want you will often use whatever means necessary to get you. Furthermore, like money – which is precisely to what you equate in ad revenue – you can be used as a tool for manipulation and injustice.
And you thought you were just catching up on the TNA results.
Let’s try and approach this in a logical order. You may or may not know that many, if not most news reporters also run their own, similar websites. This is largely why you’ll see the same names appearing on multiple newsboards – their purpose in posting news articles on as many sites as possible is to draw you, The Visitor, to their own site with those alluring links at the bottom: “Hip-Hop Star at ‘Mania! Who?? – WE KNOW!!!” or “Stacy Keibler TOPLESS!!! *CLICK HERE!!!*”
So if you thought that reporters provided news for your hungry eyes as a hobby, think again. There’s money to be made with every article, and for this reason there is a varying degree of fierceness in competition between reporters on the same site. It may appear that contributers to a newsboard are working in harmony for the good of the website, but in reality it’s every man for himself. If one writer beats another to the punch in posting a story (usually ripped off from another site), then put the women and children to bed because the fur may well be about to fly. The first writer, after all, has just claimed that valuable link space.
And as with any competitive environment, the rivalry between reporters can often lead to the emergance of politics. Many newsboards are governed by a “news administrator” recruited by the website owner to hire and fire reporters where necessary. Therefore, being on the right or wrong side of these admins – who themselves are often reporters and run their own site elsewhere – can make all the difference for writers. Don’t think that personal grudges won’t affect the professional decisions made in this capacity. They will, and they do.
Meanwhile you, The Visitor, are reading up on the latest round of anti-Triple H comments from a recent shoot interview.
Now imagine a writer who’s just been cost his lucrative reporting job at three websites because the same disgruntled news admin has been hired to run all three. Does this ad-starved writer sit and rue his decision to call that admin’s mother a trash bag ho during their preceding AOL Instant Messenger conversation? No. That’s not going to attract those lost visitors to his money-making website. And besides, there’s revenge to be had – he’s got to show the other news admins out there that he’s not a reporter to be messed with, y’know. So he gets in touch with his cousin Steve who knows a thing or two about computers, and sets about hacking the site belonging to that particular news admin, redirecting all that lovely traffic to the reporter’s own domain.
“Cool new design,” you, The Visitor, think to yourself as you log on the next day, checking for updates on Kurt Angle’s injury.
But wait a minute – why does the reporter, who runs his own site, need to contact someone else for computer advice? Doesn’t he know what he’s doing? Alarmingly, the answer is often no. From my experience, some “webmasters” who make all the money from ad sales don’t know the first thing about how their own site works. They pay a designer to build everything, hire an admin to manage the newsboard, and then trot off around the Web to promote this thing like crazy while the dollars come rolling in. Of course, some of those dollars are to compensate for being swindled by the aforementioned designers, who’ve taken their payment and vanished into cyberspace before delivering the goods. Because they, like everyone else, are only out for number one…
And so there you have it, a small insight to the ruthless world of online wrestling journalism. There is so much that goes on behind those flashing banners that the average Visitor doesn’t get to see, and wouldn’t want to. Needless to say, many of the names you see in lights are perhaps given a tad more respect than they deserve – but such is life.
It may very well be that you’re not concerned with any of this, providing you get content on demand. But otherwise, with a little judgment, you ought to be able to separate those sites which care about learning from those which care more about earning, and hopefully steer clear of those operated with all the maturity of a nappy-rashed newborn. Because as The Visitor, it is your decision as to whose attitude goes unrewarded and whose integrity is encouraged.
I only hope that our trip behind the curtain doesn’t cause the WX Forums to be hacked (check out that link below, folks!). But if it happens, I’ll just get my cousin Steve to fix it. He knows a thing or two about computers.
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